Friday, September 21, 2007
Into the Wild
I heard about Sean Penn’s new movie, Into the Wild, on CBS Sunday Morning and I was captivated by the story. It’s a story that has pursued my heart, in many forms through many incantations down the trail of my life through the forest of my dreams. It’s a story of being different. Of walking off the path and seeing from a different perspective. Some of us are born on the trail.
I read the article that lead to the book that lead to the movie. Jon Krakauer wants to give this hero, Chris McCandless, some kind of excuse for shaving his existence down too much to the edge of the razor and slicing his earthly tether. It doesn’t work, but I admire the effort. I, too, want to believe that he was really killed by a moldy potato seed, but I don’t. It was a valiant attempt at Life Abundant.
As read Krakauer’s article, I’m reminded of Edward Abbey. I first read his stories as a teenager. I was an island at a large suburban high school and I needed these book-friends to reach out to me through their words. It was my foundation and in many ways, although my mother would have me forget it and although I would have me forget that time, it shaped me. And it continues to make me. Or break me. Every year.
And here is something of Ed Abbey to cherish:
One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." -Ed Abbey